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Facebook extends TV tentacles, buys Libertadores rights

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By Reuters
Facebook extends TV tentacles, buys Libertadores rights
FILE PHOTO: The Facebook logo is shown at Facebook headquarters in Palo Alto, California, U.S., May 26, 2010. REUTERS/Robert Galbraith/File Photo   -   Copyright  Robert Galbraith(Reuters)

ASUNCION (Reuters) – Facebook bought the television rights for the 2019-2022 Copa Libertadores on Friday, adding South America’s premier club competition to a growing list of football tournaments in their broadcast portfolio.

The social media network bought exclusive rights to transmit Thursday night games in South America’s equivalent of the UEFA Champions League, as well as shared rights to broadcast games played on Tuesdays and Wednesdays, the South American Football Confederation (CONMEBOL) said.

Thursday’s agreement covers all CONMEBOL’s 10 member nations, with the other days including games broadcast in Hispanic nations but not South America’s single largest market, Portuguese-speaking Brazil.

Under the deal, 46 matches a year – 27 of them exclusively – will be broadcast online in Argentina, Bolivia, Chile, Colombia, Ecuador, Paraguay, Peru, Uruguay and Venezuela.

“We are very enthusiastic that Facebook Watch has become the new home for Conmebol Libertadores games for the next four years,” Dan Reed, the company’s vice-president for sports, said in a statement released by CONMEBOL. “We want to take this experience to the biggest audience possible.”

The deal comes a year after Facebook signed a deal with Fox Sports to livestream Champions League matches during the 2017-18 season and just weeks after it signed similar deals to show La Liga matches on the Indian sub-continent and Champions League games in Spanish-speaking Latin America.

The company at the time denied the deals signalled a more energetic policy towards snapping up sporting rights worldwide.

(Reporting by Daniela Desantis; Writing by Andrew Downie; Editing by Matthew Mpoke Bigg)